Posts Tagged With: maple water

My 4th Ultra-Marathon Race Report

This weekend, I attempted my 4th ultra-marathon in 52 weeks, my 3rd in 2015. On my journey to run in all 50 states, I signed up for the Dahlgren Rail Trail 50K in Virginia. From my research, I knew this was a very flat, fast course, run along an old railroad track. This was a 15.5 mile course.

For this race, I had intended to run a 4:30:00 when I first wrote out my training plan 6 weeks ago. I had one solid week of speed and tempo workouts, but then the rest of my training suffered. I worked long days, I felt unmotivated at times, and didn’t feel it on my training runs.

Days before the race, I knew I wouldn’t hit 4:30:00, let alone 4:45:00. So my backup goal was to try and PR(4:54:00.) I would be running a 9:18/mile.

I packed 3 Pro Bars, 2 Clif Kit Bars and filled up my hand bottle with Vertical Maple Water. This was my first race not using coconut water, so I was interested in seeing how maple water treated me.

3 Clif Pro Bars, 2 Kit Bars, and 2 Vertical Maple Waters

3  Pro Bars, 2 Kit Bars, and 2 Vertical Maple Waters

Race morning temperature was around 67. The race started at 6:30am, my first race earlier than the usual 7:00am start times. 57 runners lined up at the start of the race.

Runners lining up

Runners lining up

For the first couple miles, the runners stayed pretty close by. Then everyone started separating and started running with smaller groups. I followed one gentleman for several miles because he was going around a 9:15 mile pace.

DCIM108GOPRO

Running on covered railroad tracks.

Most of the track was covered with overgrown grass and plants. Some sections had some big rocks, while most of the track was very runnable, whether on light gravel or dirt. A few railroad ties popped up throughout the course but not very often.

Aid stations were located at mile 4, 8, 12 and the 15.5 mile turnaround. Then when you turn around the same aid stations were at mile 20, 24, and 28. Each station had a few volunteers filling water bottles with water or gatorade, and had their station stocked with plenty of fruit and snacks. Each time I stopped, I refilled my waters and ate orange slices.

Running behind a runner.

Running behind a runner.

The first 10 miles flew by for me. Not once did I have any doubts pop up in my head. My body felt rested and fit for the race. At the turnaround at mile 15.5 I clocked in at 2hrs 22min, right on pace to break my PR. I left the aid station feeling positive and excited to finish the race.

At mile 17, I met and talked to the first runner in the race. This gentleman, in his 40’s, kept up conversation with me for about 2.5 miles. We talked about our running careers and about the race in general. He had ran 27 ultra’s in 3 years.  This was his 7th ultra of the year. We separated at the next aid station at mile 20.

I felt on top of the world by then. I had a great conversation and I felt fantastic. My music playlist was keeping me pumped, and I felt that the rest of the race would be a breeze. If only I felt that way the rest of the way…

At mile 22, I started feeling a little tired, physically and mentally. Doubts kept popping in my head, my pace was slowing ever so slowly. I wanted to walk, but I had run 22 miles without walking. I promised myself to run to the next aid station which was 2 miles ahead at mile 24. I made it the aid station and was feeling a little fatigued. I was just under 8 miles to go.

I told myself I would run to each aid station without walking. At mile 25, I walked for the first time. My feet were hurting, and self doubt kept running through my mind. I walked for about 90 seconds and then continued running. I lasted another 5 minutes or so, then stopped and walked again. I kept this up for the remaining miles.

At mile 27, the gentleman I ran with earlier caught up to me. He was taking the run/walk approach for the remaining miles. I was still on track to beat my PR, but not by much. Again, I ran for a few minutes, then stopped to walk. By mile 28, and at the last aid station, I knew I couldn’t beat my PR. I would have had to run the last 4 miles at a 7:15 or so pace, and I was struggling to run a 9 minute mile.

At mile 28, around the 4:15:00 mark, I thought long and hard about my race. For a very short moment, I was down on myself, not being able to accomplish my backup goal. I didn’t train well, more so undertrained for my goal I had in mind. But I quickly changed my mindset.

The course was beautiful, the temperatures couldn’t have been better for August in Virginia. All the runners were very friendly, and I was about to complete my 4th ultra in a year. I felt blessed to have the time and money to attempt this 50-state challenge.

I’m not going to run my best every race. I know what I did wrong and I hope to improve on it for my next race. This 50-state goal is very tiring, time consuming and expensive, but I’m enjoying the experience.

I crossed the finish line at 5:03:00, 9 minutes behind my PR. 17th place out of 57 runners.

5:03:00

5:03:00

I couldn’t have been happier with how the race was organized. The course was well marked, the aid station volunteers were very friendly and cheerful. I highly recommend this race for anyone’s first 50K.

Physically, I felt fit enough. I was tired closer to the end, but overall I was happy with my fitness. My mental state needs some work. I really need to work on my inner self and to try and eliminate as much self doubt as possible.

I really enjoyed sipping on Vertical Maple Water instead of coconut water. I never got cramps and felt hydrated. The water was extremely smooth, light, and just a tad sweet. What I loved about the maple water was when I’d spill some on my mouth from drinking it, I didn’t get sticky With coconut water, my mouth and chin would get sticky, but with Vertical Maple Water, I never got sticky. I think I’ll continue to use maple water instead of coconut water for my next race.

My next race will be October 24th in Tennessee. I’ll be running the Firewater 50K.

-Danny

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5 Drinks To Carry On Your Next Run

Gatorade, Powerade, and other electrolyte sports drinks seem to be consumed by a majority of runners out there. Their ads online and on television make the drink seem irresistible and thirst quenching. Athletes are shown drinking from their Gatorade bottle during stoppage of plays, intermissions and commercial breaks.

Most aid stations at race events stock up on Gatorade for the runners. These drinks help replenish lost electrolytes on your run. But many of these drinks contain inexpensive sweeteners and sugars such as high fructose corn syrup and sucrose syrup, and they also contain colored dyes.

Here are 5 alternative sports drinks you can consume during your next run.

1. Coconut Water: With less sugar than sports drinks, this water contains glucose, Vitamin C and Vitamin B and more potassium than a banana. One major benefit I find with coconut water is the decrease and elimination of muscle cramps on my runs from the potassium in coconut water. Coconut water can be found in almost every convenient store with such brands as Zico, Vita Coco, C20, and Naked. I stay away from those brands, they tend to contain added fruit sugars and they don’t taste like fresh coconut water. My personal favorite is Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water and Taste Nirvana. Or you can buy a fresh organic coconut, crack it open, drink the water, and eat the coconut meat.

2. Maple Water: Containing 46 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, this water is the sap that comes straight from tapped maple trees. Instead of boiling down the maple water to turn into syrup, you can drink it raw from a maple tree. Maple water also contains about half the sugar of coconut water. The only 2 brands I’ve tried and have come across are Wahta and Vertical Maple Water, each tasting very similar to raw maple water. In March, you can save money and tap your own maple trees! I would like to only drink maple water for my next ultra-marathon.

3. Cactus Water: I recently tasted cactus water and found the water to be extremely light tasting. This water contains half the calories as coconut water and other sports drinks, and is supposed to reduce inflammation. True Nopal and Caliwater are the 2 cactus water brands I’ve come across, and I have only tried True Nopal. Very tasty alternative to Gatorade, with only 3 ingredients(water, pear concentrate, and natural flavors.) I would love to try raw cactus water.

4. Aloe Vera Water: This water is said to have healing and soothing effects for the body, especially for cramps. This drink contains vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. Extremely tasty drink, however it contains quite a few ingredients, 7 to be exact; Water, Aloe Vera Juice, Cane Sugar, Honey, Citric Acid, Vitamin C, and Natural Grape Flavor.

5. Birch Water: Similiar to Maple Water, this tree is tapped in early spring. This water contains potassium, iron and other antioxidants and vitamins. I haven’t come across birch water in stores yet, and have only seen one brand online, Sealand Birk Birch Water. The birch tree is considered, “The Tree of Life”, and I’m anxious to give it a try this summer.

Stay hydrated this summer with one of these 5 alternative sports drinks to fuel your next run!

-Danny

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